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Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

Administrators' Digest

October 2018 (Vol. 9, No.10)

Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2019 Call for Proposal Invitation!

Plans are underway for OTAN’s Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2019, scheduled for March 1 and 2 at Hacienda La Puente Adult Education - Willow Center.

The call for proposals has opened. You are invited to present and share your favorite technology tools and/or best practices with your adult education colleagues. Have you tried a method or practice that involves technology in an adult education class or a program? Share your successes and challenges by presenting at the Symposium! The call for proposals is open until Friday, November 16, 2018.

OTAN is looking for presentations that highlight technology, how it enhances the learner experience, extends the classroom to learners, and how technology integration helps adult education programs be more effective and efficient. If you would like more ideas on possible presentation topics, view last year’s sessions in the TDLS 2018 program booklet  on the OTAN website.

OTAN looks forward to seeing you at the Technology and Distance Learning Symposium at Hacienda La Puente Adult Education - Willow Center on March 1 and 2, 2019! If you have questions, contact Neda Anasseri ( or Penny Pearson ( You can also visit the TDLS page on the OTAN website: (Please note that registration for TDLS will open on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.)

AB 2098 Immigrant Integration Framework Passes!

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2098 (McCarty and Thurmond) into law! AB 2098 adds “immigrant integration” to the list of existing outcomes, mainly centered around college and career transitions, that may be reported by the 71 California adult education consortia. According to the Alliance for Language Learners’ Integration, Education and Success (ALLIES), the driving force behind this policy initiative, “The addition of immigrant integration outcomes validates the historic role of adult education in welcoming newcomers and will strengthen this critical work for the future.”

ALLIES, based in the San Francisco South Bay Area, first began the development of the Immigrant Integration Framework by convening a diverse group of stakeholders in 2016. A white paper was published in the spring of 2017, and work began at the state level to move forward legislation that could codify the framework. After the bill made its way through the state Assembly and Senate during most of 2018 to date, AB 2098 was finally signed into law.

In its effort to support passage of the legislation, the ALLIES Board of Directors wrote:

Adding immigrant integration to AEBG outcomes, as outlined in AB 2098, is fully aligned with ALLIES’ mission to promote adult English learner success in education, career and community; and will restore a balanced approach to serving immigrants and refugees in California’s Adult Education Program. Adult Education’s historic mission to serve all students, including consistently large numbers of English language learners, will be validated and strengthened by formally recognizing immigrant integration as an outcome for adult learners, and will provide incentive for education providers to maintain and improve services to our state’s sizable immigrant and refugee community.

At a time when inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric urges us to stand up for our immigrant neighbors, AB 2098 will boost the capacity of California’s robust adult education system to develop long-term strategies that promote immigrant integration, thus contributing to the continued social and economic prosperity of our State.

To learn more about ALLIES and the Immigrant Integration Framework, visit the ALLIES website at

Strengthening Family Literacy Throughout the School Year

Even though we are celebrating Adult Education and Family Literacy Week for one week in the second half of September, the work of strengthening family literacy continues throughout the school year.

TESOL International Association has published a Community and Family Toolkit, a guide to engaging the families of English learners in the classroom, the school, and the community. The Toolkit has a number of detailed ideas that English language educators can use at all levels to connect with families and build strong communities. Some of the ideas include:

  • Library backpack program
  • Increase involvement of EL families at school events
  • Establish an Adult Resource Center for EL families
  • Develop a school action plan

To download the Toolkit and learn about related resources, visit this page on the TESOL website:

ProLiteracy, an organization devoted to adult literacy and basic education, has published a Toolkit for Adult Education and Family Literacy Week that includes good advocacy materials and information that can be used and modified as the school year progresses. There are tips on how to inform local, state, and federal officials about the literacy challenges that students continually face, and how to engage with communities and potential partners via social media and get the word out. To download the Toolkit, visit this page on the ProLiteracy website:

Finally, the Twitter hashtag #AEFLWeek has been very active this week. Twitter users have contributed a number of great ideas and information about literacy efforts across the country. As the school year continues, consider following #familyliteracy and #adultliteracy, among other Twitter hashtags that continue the literacy conversation.

OER Initiatives Help Lower College Textbook Costs

Two recent articles point to the success that open education resource (OER) initiatives across the country have had in lowering the costs of college textbooks.

An article from Diverse: Issues in Education details OpenStax, a nonprofit initiative started by Rice University in 2012. The university recently announced that more than 2.2 million students and nearly half of U.S. colleges are using the service this year to save about $177 million. The institutions using the service cover quite a range of grade levels and institutions, from high schools to community colleges to larger universities, and textbooks are available in a number of subject areas, mainly in math and science topics.

A recent study by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) found that the average textbook costs from around the nation are decreasing for the first time in 50 years. Some say the change is due partly to competition from alternatives such as OpenStax. The study, published in May, also concluded that “the average undergraduate student spent $555.60 on required course materials for the academic year” in 2017-18.

A second article from Inside Higher Ed discusses efforts at Lansing Community College in Michigan, Salt Lake Community College in Utah, and the Maricopa Community College District in Arizona to actively implement OER use among the faculty by making grant funding available to develop OER and advocate for its use, with students ultimately benefitting from lower-cost materials. One point repeated throughout is the need for long-term planning and dedication to touting the benefits of OER, especially among faculty who are resistant to change. It is also an opportunity to bring students, faculty, and staff together to collaborate in the process of developing OER for the entire institution.

If you want to learn more about OER, please contact OTAN at or 916-228-2580 to schedule one of a number of workshops that focus on how to use OER in adult education.  This article also has some ideas on how to find and curate OER if you are just getting started.

Source: Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Three Kinds of Jobs that Will Thrive as Automation Advances

Are you worried about a machine taking your job some day?

Technology is transforming our economy, and as technology becomes more pervasive and disruptive, we can see the implications of this development – technology that that can be used to automate routine, low-skilled, manual labor, as well as “knowledge” work like operational analytics and marketing where sophisticated artificial intelligence algorithms can be applied.

What is the place for humans in the world of work in this scenario? A recent article by the Harvard Business Review asks us to consider supply and demand trends that are being reshaped by technology in the workplace. It’s this second technology-driven shift that will change the very nature of work, determining the balance of humans and technology in the production of goods and services that customers seek out and vendors produce.

Supply and demand trends that are being redefined by the use of technology include:

  • Consumers have a lot more information at their disposal, allowing them the ease to switch between vendors who can offer them more niche products rather than mass-market goods.
  • Consumers are seeking out usage-based pricing models, rather than ownership.
  • Consumers are using ad-blockers at an increasing rate. Vendors need to convey value in new ways so they are sought out.
  • Vendors can use technology to expand the array of product options, matching the consumer need for more customized goods and services.
  • Vendors can deliver products and services to market faster.

Work, then, is bound to change on at least two fronts. First, machines will increasingly take over routine tasks that define work in a standardized, mass-market product world. Second, the only way to create value in a more differentiated and rapidly changing product world will be to redefine work at a fundamental level to focus on distinctly human capabilities like curiosity, imagination, creativity, and emotional and social intelligence.

Three different categories of work will seemingly become more prominent in a rapidly-changing economy:

  1. Creators — people who can anticipate the rapidly evolving needs of individual customers and design and deliver creative and highly tailored products and services.
  2. Composers— people who deeply understand the aspirations and needs of small niches of customers and who can compose engaging and rewarding experiences for those people.
  3. Coaches — people who will help customers achieve more of their potential in various domains.

What’s the result? Technology now and in the future can provide us with the opportunity to focus on work and activities that will help us to achieve more and more of our potential in our work, as we express human capabilities that machines will find difficult to replicate.

Source: Harvard Business Review

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.